According to an email sent to USPTO employees earlier today, United States Patent and Trademark Office Commissioner for Patents Margaret (Peggy) Focarino has announced that she will retire effective July 3, 2015.
In reaching out to the USPTO to confirm this report I was provided the following statement from USPTO Director Michelle Lee:
“Peggy has been an inspiration to so many individuals who have aspired to further American innovation through public service,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director Michelle K. Lee. “Since 1977, when she began her career as a patent examiner, she has proven to be a role model of professionalism and dedication. Her tenure as Commissioner for Patents occurred at a historic moment in the patent system’s 225-year history, during the enactment of the transformative America Invents Act. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with her over the last several years, and congratulate her on an extremely successful career.”
Focarino has been a long time employee of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, first starting with the USPTO in 1977 as a Patent Examiner. She became a Supervisory Patent Examiner in 1989 and was promoted to the Senior Executive Service in 1997. In January 2005, Focarino was promoted to Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations, a role that made her responsible for all patent-examining functions in the eight Patent Technology Centers and all operational aspects of patent application initial examination, patent publications, and international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications processing. Upon the resignation of Jon Dudas from the USPTO in January 2009, then Commissioner for Patents John Doll rose from his post as Commissioner for Patents to become the Acting Director of the Patent Office. At this time Focarino was promoted to Acting Commissioner for Patents. Upon Director Kappos assuming control of the Patent Office, Focarino was retained on the senior management team, with the creation of a new position — Deputy Commissioner for Patents. Subsequently, after Commissioner Bob Stoll retired, Focarino was promoted, this time being appointed Commissioner for Patents.
Peggy is extremely well respect and has a reputation as a “doer.” While there are capable deputies in the wings there is no doubt that the Patent Office will lose a key leader when Focarino steps down. We wish her well as she moves into he next chapter of her life.